Former Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli on Saturday (April 9) fell prey to a controversial umpiring decision that created a lot of chatter on social media platforms. In the match with five-time champions Mumbai Indians, RCB were chasing a modest target of 152 and coasting along nicely. As RCB was about to canter home, MI skipper Rohit Sharma threw the ball to rookie Dewald Brevis, as a last roll of dice. And the South African leggie trapped Kohli in front of the wickets on the front pad with his first ball of the tournament.
The on-field umpire raised the dreaded finger but Kohli instantly signalled for the review, seemingly confident of having inside-edged the ball. The replays showed to the public and the third umpire suggested that the ball had hit the bat first.
However, the lack of a frame meant that the ultra edge only caught the nick when the ball rubbed against the pad. Consequently, instead of going with common sense, the third umpire decided to stay with the on-field decision, which left everybody shocked, including Kohli.
Kohli appeared furious even when he was walking out as he slammed his bat on the ground. Reacting to the decision, the franchise took to Twitter and wrote, “We were just reading through the MCC Laws of Cricket for LBW decisions, and here’s what we found. Unfortunate that Virat Kohli had to walk back disappointed after a brilliant knock.”
We were just reading through the MCC Laws of Cricket for LBW decisions, and here’s what we found. 🤔🤭
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) April 10, 2022
The MCC rule book stated, “In assessing point 36.1.3 if the ball makes contact with the striker’s person and bat simultaneously, this shall be considered as the ball having first touched the bat.”
The controversy has once again cast aspersions over the quality of Indian umpires in the circuit. For a country that gave the world a top-class umpire in Srinivas Venkataraghavan, the fall in the quality has been a blot on BCCIs credibility to churn efficient officials.
Last year, it was third umpire Krishnamachari Srinivasan who similarly failed to spot a clear nick. And once again, it was RCB involved in the controversy.
Devdutt Padikkal, opening the batting for RCB tried to play an expansive reverse lap against leggie Ravi Bishnoi during the eighth over. However, failing to get underneath the googly, Devdutt nicked the ball off the gloves.
The on-field umpire KN Ananthapadmanabhan ruled not out and it was referred to the third umpire. While the ultra-edge showed a clear spike off the gloves, Srinivasan, who looked ginger and under-confident whilst talking through the decision, to everyone’s surprise, ruled it not out as well.
— Kishore (@kishoreofficial) October 3, 2021
Talking about the Third umpire gaffe, former cricketer Krishnamacharya Srikanth took to Twitter and remarked, “Terrible umpiring, mistakes like that is unforgivable with so much technology and help these days! #RCBvsPBKS #IPL202”
— Kris Srikkanth (@KrisSrikkanth) October 3, 2021
While third umpires have had their fair share of howlers in recent times, Indian cricket had to endure the listless umpiring of Vineet Kulkarni for a brief period in 2015. In the 1st T20I between India and South Africa played at Dharamshala, the Proteas were chasing a formidable target of 200 for a win and were 157 for 3 in the 17th over.
The second ball of the over saw Bhuvaneshwar Kumar bowl an inswinging yorker which was missed completely by South African southpaw JP Duminy while attempting a flick and the ball hit his pad. The Indians went up in an appeal for lbw as it was clear that the batsman was struck right in front of the stumps.
But umpire Kulkarni was unmoved and ruled in favour of the batsman, much to the dismay of the Indian team and the spectators in the stadium. South Africa managed to rub salt on Team India’s wounds by completing the win with 2 balls to spare.
In the ODI series as well, Kulkarni gave a bad decision which cost India the match. Chasing a steep target of 304, India was off to a flier but a full delivery from Morne Morkel hit Shikhar Dhawan on the pads. It was clear to the naked eye that the ball was sliding down the leg but Kulkarni in his miserable streak, raised the finger.
Eventually, India lost the game by five runs and the management was forced to lodge a formal complaint against Kulkarni for his dubious decision-making.
In the second T20I against England in Nagpur in 2017, the Indian side, batting first had posted a meagre total of 144. The visitors were en route to wipe the deficit and needed only 8 runs in the final six deliveries.
Jasprit Bumrah, who was still finding his footing in international cricket steamed from over the wicket and bowled a straight one on the stumps. Root, crouching low, swiped across the line and seemingly got hit on the pads. The Indian players appealed and Shamsuddin raised the finger.
Although the decision went in India’s favour, the replays showed that Root had got a massive inside edge that should have been caught by the umpire. Earlier, Shamsuddin had also dismissed England’s appeal for an LBW against Virat Kohli who was then batting at 7.
England skipper Eoin Morgan had expressed “extreme frustration” at Shamshuddin’s dismissal of Root in the final over as India scraped a five-run victory. Both these decisions created a lot of clamour and Shamsuddin was eventually forced to withdraw as the on-field umpire for the third T20I at Bengaluru.